Sunday, December 18, 2011

Still Working on It!

My Ali Girl

     Yesterday morning Diane was looking through some Etsy sites and told me there was a wood working site named Two Dog Woodshop, she suggested that I have a One Cat Woodshop!  Silly as it seems she planted a seed in my mind so I scanned a photograph of when Ali was the cover girl on Cat Fancy Magazine and made it my carving challenge.  Believe it or not; you're looking at about 4 hours worth of work and it's far from perfection but ......... I feel my skill level continues to improve.
     When I'm out in my shop, fully engrossed in what I'm trying to achieve, time means nothing.  I remember conversations in our car pool as we went up the mountain to work.  Several of us were at that point of retiring and many of my co-workers were concerned with what the heck would they do all day.  You know, you can only take so many trips or hit so many golf balls.  Thank God that I have a past time that keeps me engaged and brings in some extra money besides.  Let's talk about the carving work, here it is in a better shot:

Ali Carved 12-18-2011

     I can still recall my very first exposure to carving, it was in Boy Scouts and we were told to bring a bar of soap to the next meeting.  The scoutmasters name was Bill Hinkle and he showed us how to carve a fish out of that bar of soap.  I remember him saying, when we asked how to do it, just cut away everything that doesn't look like a fish!  Sounds simple enough but there's much more to it as I'm learning.  With this carving I'm trying to give a sense of dimension and I think there's a certain degree of success.  One of her front paws is up in the air so the other one has to be brought back some, same with her rear legs. My goal is to show different layers which can be achieved by rounding over the edges and creating shadows to show depth.  A characteristic of the Oriental Shorthairs are their large ears and wedge shaped face.  Looking down at Ali here on my lap that's pretty obvious.
     Anyway, that's what's kept me busy for part of the weekend, the process that goes hand in hand with carving is maintaining  sharp chisels but that's another subject all to itself!


  1. I like the carving, and your comment about "you can only take so many trips and hit so many golf balls". I'm so glad that as children we learned to keep busy and be creative!!

  2. Looks real good to me, John! Were you working from a photo? I like it!

    One of these days I'm seriously thinking of taking a class or two in sketching and pencil drawings. I'm told that drawing doesn't require talent so much as the willingness to acquire the skill which anyone is supposed to be able to learn. By extension, it seems like these skills would be transferrable to carving.

    What gouges and carving chisels did you use on this (and where did you get them from)?

  3. Well Rich, I did a black & white scan of her actual photo then used graphite paper to put it on the Basswood. I have a collection of small gouges and chisels, mostly Phiel from Woodcraft and also some Dastra, Ashley, & Two Cherries. I've heard about the "anyone can learn to draw" from my wife but doesn't seem to work for me! Glad you like it, I'm mostly self taught via experimentation, books, and the occasional video.